The Louisiana charter school law is designed to free independently run public-school campuses from many of the bureaucratic laws that educators say restrict their freedom. However, that doesn’t include the state’s open-meetings law.
In response to three months of requests from The Lens, a surprisingly large number of New Orleans charter school boards failed to comply with even basic requests for information. Many didn’t respond at all. Of the officials who did answer, some provided only partial information – and still others claimed they aren’t public officials or required to do their work in public, even though state law says otherwise…
Concerns over openness and accountability have grown with the charter school movement.
The Orleans Parish School Board used to have a budget rivaling that of the city – close to half a billion dollars – but it now shares its state allocation with the Recovery School District and myriad charters. For citizens to follow the money allotted to public schools – $7,995 per child in state money – they need to know when and where the boards meet.
No longer can activists or interested taxpayers plan on attending just regular meetings of the School Board. They also need to travel to Baton Rouge sometimes to hear about Recovery School District schools, and try to track down the meetings of the nearly three dozen charter school boards…
The charter law requires schools and their boards to comply with the open-meetings law, which says boards must create a schedule of meetings at the beginning of the calendar year.
The open-meetings law also says that the agendas must be sent at least 24 hours before any meeting to any news media outlet that requests such copy.
And part of the charter law requires 60 percent of the board members to live in the parish where the school is located, or in an adjacent parish…
New Orleans (LA) charter schools (issues with open-meetings law)
IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS: MOST CHARTERS DON’T COMPLY WITH OPEN-MEETINGS LAW, October 7, 2010, The Lens (New Orleans, LA)